Thirsty Thursday

A hankering for happy hour

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Date nights aside, my bearded man-friend and I have designated Thursday afternoons as our appointed weekly happy hour outing. We typically spend a few minutes discussing new venues we should be exploring, but then end up at Jalapeno’s sipping Big Mamas, sharing a plate of nachos and watching the waterfront from a perch in the bar.

Last Thursday was different. When I informed my fella I hoped he’d be willing to branch out as part of Downtown Bellingham Partnership’s “Happy Hour Thursdays” taking place throughout March, I came up against some resistance. He wanted his familiar plus-sized margarita, and suggested we wait another week before branching out.

“Does the fact that participating venues will each be offering $6 craft cocktails, $5 wines, $4 beers and half off select appetizers change your mind?” I countered. “Also, if we try somewhere we’ve never been before and don’t like it, we’re under no obligation to stick around.”

“Fine,” he grumbled, following me into Black Sheep. The self-proclaimed “bar with tacos” on Holly Street was filling up fast, but we snagged a table for two on the ground floor of the small space and proceeded to explore our options. My date ordered a $6 “mule” with Kuma—a locally produced liqueur made with turmeric root—and I opted for a $4 “Dude-a-Rita,” a margarita on the rocks made with Lunazul reposada tequila, triple sec, lime and lemon. Chips with a trio of salsas was $2 (typically $4).

“I’m enjoying the flavor sensations,” my reluctant date admitted soon thereafter, proclaiming his cocktail to be one of the best he’d had in a long while. He was similarly enthused by the spiced sweet corn salsa, and was moved to order a carne asada taco, which also featured the delicious topping. Since the tacos are two for $7, I jumped into the ring by requesting a lamb and brisket gyro taco—which comes in the same handmade tortillas as the “regular” tacos, but adds tomato jam, tzaziki, shaved fennel and feta to the mix (our waitress noted the roasted cauliflower gyro was her favorite, and I vowed to try that the next time we visited).

By the time our plates and glasses were empty, my date proclaimed himself to be “utterly transformed,” and said he was looking forward to exploring a few more of the Happy Hour Thursdays events this month.

When I told him about some of the other menu items I knew about—like the Rosemary Paloma at Bayou on Bay; Camber’s goat cheese fondue; select appetizers and the “Turn & Burn” cocktail at Hundred North; Rook & Rogue’s Lifesaver-infused vodkas; 1950s-inspired cocktails and classic pub food at the Horseshoe; as well as specials at the Grand, La Fiamma, the Local, Old World Deli, Casa, the Racket, the Orion, Miller’s Back Door, the Redlight, Uisce, Vinostrology and beyond—his eyes lit up.

“Where should we go next Thursday?” he queried. “It’s up to you,” I answered. “I’m up for anything.”

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